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Three Strangers (1946)

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Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Title: Three Strangers (1946)

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Complete credited cast:
Jerome K. Arbutny
Crystal Shackleford
Johnny West
Joan Lorring ...
Icey Crane
Robert Shayne ...
Bertram Fallon
Marjorie Riordan ...
Janet Elliott
Arthur Shields ...
Rosalind Ivan ...
Lady Rhea Belladon
John Alvin ...
Junior Clerk
Peter Whitney ...
Timothy Delaney aka Gabby
David Shackleford
Clifford Brooke ...
Senior Clerk
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Proctor


According to a legend, if three strangers gather before an idol of Kwan Yin (the Chinese goddess of fortune and destiny) on the night of the Chinese New Year and make a common wish, Kwan Yin will open her eyes and her heart and grant the wish. In London 1938 on the Chinese New Year, Crystal Shackleford has such an idol and decides to put the legend to the test. She picks two random strangers off the street, and puts the proposition to them. They decide that an ideal wish would be for a sweepstakes ticket they buy equal shares in to be a winner. After all, everyone needs money and a pot is very easy to divide equally, right? Written by Ken Yousten <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


BREATHTAKING SUSPENSE - THRILLS! (original ad - all caps)


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 January 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Strangers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Robert Osborne of TCM, this film was at one point intended to be a sequel to "The Maltese Falcon." Following the success of that film, Warner Bros. wanted to make a sequel. Falcon write/director John Huston said he'd previously written an un-filmed scrip for Warner Bros. that would be appropriate and would only required the character names to be changed to the Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor characters. However, Warner Bros. discovered they did not own the rights to the characters except for their appearance in "The Maltese Falcon." See more »


Jerome K. Arbutny: I'll stay and witness your miracle as you call it. If it happens at midnight, we have only five minutes to go.
Jerome K. Arbutny: That gives us just time to make our wish.
Jerome K. Arbutny: Wish?
Crystal Shackleford: Yes, I mentioned that Kwan Yin would not only open her eyes but her heart as well. Whatever we ask for she will grant.
Johnny West: Oh, that's the kind of lady I like.
Crystal Shackleford: The only difficulty is it has to be the same wish for three of us.
Johnny West: What could that possibly be?
Crystal Shackleford: I've been thinking about it for several days. You see, the wish I had my heart set on ...
See more »


I Dreampt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
Written by Michael Balfe and Alfred Bunn (1843)
Played by Johnny on broken record in prison cell.
See more »

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User Reviews

Triple Threat
23 September 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

THREE STRANGERS stake their future fortunes on the whims of Kwan Yin, an ancient Chinese goddess.

The original story behind this tidy little thriller was originally conceived by John Huston as a sequel to THE MALTESE FALCON (1941). That not proving possible, it was shaped into its present form with help from the writer Howard Koch and turned over to the noted director Jean Negulesco.

The film stars Sydney Greenstreet & Peter Lorre in one of their several pairings. Greenstreet, huge and implacable, plays a desperately duplicitous solicitor. Spooky-eyed Lorre, who gets to play a rare romantic role, is a petty criminal on the lam from the police. Their actual screen time together is sparse, but they make the most of it--the nervous little fellow playing perfectly off of the rumbling fat man. Greenstreet, especially, overacts magnificently, descending into melancholia and, eventually, madness, to the delight of the viewer.

Geraldine Fitzgerald is pure vixen as the third member of the trio, a woman so consumed by jealousy, and obsessed with the supposed powers of the goddess Kwan Yin, that she has ceased being influenced by natural love & affection. Every man's nightmare, she is unadulterated malice.

The supporting cast includes the sprightly Joan Lorring as Lorre's loyal girlfriend; Alan Napier as Fitzgerald's estranged husband; Rosalind Ivan as a widowed dowager still in communication with her deceased husband; Arthur Shields as a stern prosecutor; and the always competent Doris Lloyd as Lorre's slovenly landlady.

Movie mavens will recognize an unbilled Ian Wolfe as a London barrister.

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